Travel companies are tapping into this growing market, offering adventurous trips across the globe for solo travellers wanting to meet like-minded people
Contiki specialises in holidays for 18 to 35-year-olds and is a popular choice for solo travellers: last year 60% of its guests travelled solo and that figure is set to rise this year. Though it has been running trips around the world for more than four decades, India represents a brand new destination for the company, which is launching tours there this December. The 12-day tour ticks off India’s most popular historical and cultural destinations – Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Mumbai – as well as heading south for some beach time in Goa. There are also opportunities to customise your trip, with added experiences such as safaris, cooking classes and yoga.
• From £1,383 for a same-gender twin-share room, including guides, tour manager, breakfast, one lunch and dinner, all activties, contiki.com
A China experience
Trips to Asia have proved popular for solo travellers booking through Wendy Wu, especially among older female travellers. The company offers a range of trips to China – including an epic 28-day trip dubbed “The Big One” – but those looking for a shorter holiday to fit into their schedule might prefer the 10-day “A China Experience”. The tour covers the best known sights, such as the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors, but also makes time for less-visited locations, like the peaceful water town Zhujiajiao. Travellers who want to save on the single supplement and are happy to double up in a twin room can opt for the “willing to share policy” – even if there isn’t another traveller to match you with, you won’t be charged any extra.
• 10 days from £1,890 (single room £280 extra) all-inclusive, including flights,wendywutours.co.uk
Sailing in Croatia and Montenegro
Another travel company active in the solo traveller market is G Adventures, which also offers the chance to share rooms to save on the single supplement. Solo travellers account for around a third of those who book. One of its new trips this year is a sailing adventure along the Dalmatian coast, a destination that is growing in popularity with solo travellers. Starting and ending in Dubrovnik, Croatia, the nine-day tour heads south to Montenegro and takes in the dramatic Balkan landscape, beautiful beaches and an old fishing village.
• From £869, (allow an additional $250-$325 for meals and $80 for a kitty),gadventures.com
Skiing in Morzine, France
For those looking to get a bit more pumped on their travels, the small independent travel company Hofnar specialises in sociable holidays for single travellers looking for an upbeat chalet experience in the Alps. The company runs a chalet in Morzine and 80% of its guests go solo, meaning they can expect a crowd of like-minded people to hit the slopes with and, well, make the most of the après ski. Trips never have more than 14 people and the laid-back approach means travellers are welcome to do as much or as little as they like during their stay.
• Seven nights from £315 (based on a triple share), including breakfast, four dinners, snacks, unlimited soft drinks, host, hofnar.com
West Africa, from Ghana to Togo and Benin
Overland travel specialist Dragoman estimates 60% of its clients are solo travellers. It runs small group adventures, with numbers limited to 22 – large enough to have a nice mix and small enough for people to get to know everyone else during their trip. It’s a good option for those keen to go off the beaten track but would prefer not to travel completely independently. One standout is its 21-day trip across West Africa. Starting in Accra, capital of Ghana, travellers are driven east to the forests and hills of Togo’s Mont Klouto before continuing on to Benin – a trip that will involve some difficult roads and some very special wild camps.
• From £1,195, plus $440 kitty, including some tours, and food when camping,dragoman.com
More than half of the travellers who book with Intrepid go alone, so travellers are unlikely to find themselves surrounded by couples and groups. But that hasn’t stopped Intrepid pulling together a trio of solo-only departures for three of its most popular trips. One is a coffee lovers’ dream holiday, heading into the Colombian highlands to visit plantations and roasteries, while staying on a traditional coffee estancia, before heading to Medellin – one of the most exciting cities in South America – and the Unesco world heritage city of Cartagena.
• From £1,240, including breakfast plus some meals, transport, some tours,intrepidtravel.com
Yoga retreat in Spain
For a me-time break, a yoga retreat is an obvious option. At Suryalila, in the Andalucian countryside, you’ll be able to stretch those limbs surrounded by beautiful mountains, lakes and fields, and feast on organic vegetarian meals in between twice daily yoga classes. Destination Yoga is a popular choice with solo travellers – 70% of its clients go alone – and the company will also help to match guests with other solo travellers if they want to share a room and keep the price down. If you’re after a healthy way to see in the New Year, join the 28 December trip (returns 2 January).
• Five nights from £650, including all vegetarian meals and yoga,destinationyoga.co.uk
Atlas descent, Morocco
The team that created this cycle adventure through the incredible scenery of Morocco has explored every trail in the Anti Atlas mountains to chart the best route; so expect a varied ride through palm groves and valleys, enjoying Berber hospitality along the way. This is one of the trips that Exodus schedules with solo travellers specifically in mind, so most other people on the trip will also be travelling alone.
• Eight days from £959 including flights, tour leader, most meals, all activities and transport, exodus.co.uk
Responsible Travel runs lots of great small group holidays that make it easy for solo travellers to bond, but one standout trip has to be its two-week tour of Japan. The excellent-value trip has no single supplement, and for more than half of its duration travellers enjoy their own single room (guests share with one other person when staying at traditional inns and smaller accommodations). The trip takes in the highlights of the country, from gleaming cities to Buddhist temples and traditional mountain towns, finishing in Tokyo for a big night out.
• From £1,750, including breakfast, some activities, tour guide, one dinner,responsibletravel.com
Mekong delta, islands and temples
Wild Frontiers offers room shares for solo travellers who would prefer not to pay a single supplement (more than 70% of those on its group tours travel alone). For those keen to jet off for some “me time” over New Year, the company’s impressive 15-day adventure to Vietnam and Cambodia departing 29 December includes touring Ho Chi Minh City on a Vespa, exploring the Mekong Delta by bicycle and wandering among the temples of Angkor. Accommodation will be in boutique hotels and guesthouses throughout the holiday.